A.J. and Kellie Blair, Webster County

Farms: Corn, soybeans, small grains, cattle, pigs

Conservation practices used: No-till, strip till, cover crops, rotational grazing, nitrogen management

Preparing for the future: The farming practices that we use right now could – and likely will – change dramatically over the course of the next 10 years. We need to remain adaptable as we prepare for the future. As we expand our farming operation, we realize we have a lot of work ahead.

Importance of data: There’s a lot of stress involved with farming, but the tools available to us now help us make informed decisions. As we measure our successes and failures, we know we need to be diligent in keeping data. That’s why we are taking soil and water samples to see if what we are doing today is making the land better for the future.

“I hope we have decades of farming ahead of us, and it’s exciting to have data to know where we began. Taking care of the land is a big responsibility, but it’s exciting to show our children what we can do as a farm family to improve the soil.”

Legacy: We have two school-aged children and we are intentional about teaching them to be good to what we have. That’s exactly why we take care of the land. If we are good to the land it will be profitable for the generations to come. Even if our children don’t want to farm, we want them to take what they’ve learned from the farm and apply that to their daily lives.

Advice for other farmers: We can’t stress enough the importance of data. We all need to be sampling the soil to make sure we are only applying the nutrients that are needed. By sampling the water, we know what we are applying to the soil is working for us or if we need to alter our conservation methods.